TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of May 26, 2013

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Venspired Free Posters - Krissy Venosdale

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking to enhance the visual appeal of your classroom? Download creative and visually appealing posters for free through Flickr from this blog. The teacher who created it shares...more
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Are you looking to enhance the visual appeal of your classroom? Download creative and visually appealing posters for free through Flickr from this blog. The teacher who created it shares her own images for you to use. Click on any image in the blog and it will take you directly to the Flickr page. Follow the detailed steps explained in the blog post to create and save the image. There is also a link (with instructions) to create your own posters. The teacher who shared this information would like to hear from those who use her posters. This site accesses Flickr which is blocked by some school web filters.

tag(s): posters (35)

In the Classroom

Start your school year out by using some of these posters to decorate your classroom or hallways. Print pages to add inspiration in student notebooks or for motivational bulletin boards. Have students create their own posters after viewing the blog. Looking for a classroom theme? View the options available to enhance your room. Use the posters as a theme for the day, week, or month. Discuss the poster during class meetings. Relate the messages to character traits from reading selections, historical figures, or famous people. If you have a special class event, upload the images to Flickr (reviewed here) to make posters about it. Secondary teachers can create custom posters using their own digital pictures from historic sites or even roller coasters (for physics class).

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Digital Public Library of America - Digital Public Library of America

Grades
5 to 12
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The Digital Public Library of America is a central portal pulling together the collections of US libraries, archives and museums. These individual collections are available in a single...more
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The Digital Public Library of America is a central portal pulling together the collections of US libraries, archives and museums. These individual collections are available in a single large database. The DPLA does not actually have any collection of its own; rather it provides direct links to individual artifacts that reside in other collections across the US. Artifacts include text, images, video clips, and more. You can search the DPLA using a timeline, using a map, or using a more traditional search box. The timeline feature makes accessing topics such as "civil rights" by decade very helpful. Creating a free account allows you to save searches. The DPLA also "collects" groups of artifacts into exhibitions.

tag(s): 1910s (9), 1920s (16), 1930s (15), 1940s (13), 1950s (12), 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), 20th century (50), data (149), museums (49), primary sources (84)

In the Classroom

Adding the DPLA to your classroom bookmarks or introducing students to this resource will put a wealth of information into students' hands, aggregated into one place. Consider this a museum/archive/library specific search engine. Because each search links to an artifact or document which may actually be the property of any of dozens of different entities, students will need to understand that copyright and the ability to download material may vary depending upon where the original item "lives." Be sure to demonstrate how to FIND the rights information. Challenge students to explore basics on an artist, an author, or a social studies topic such as "civil rights" or "Martin Luther King" to see an overview in many media using the timeline display. Be sure to test the searches in advance to know which terms yield reasonable results.

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A Glimpse of Teenage Life in Ancient Rome - Ray Laurence

Grades
6 to 12
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What was life like for a teenager in ancient Rome? Watch the clever portrayal of the life of Lucius Popidius Secundus, a seventeen-year-old living in Rome in 73 AD. Packed ...more
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What was life like for a teenager in ancient Rome? Watch the clever portrayal of the life of Lucius Popidius Secundus, a seventeen-year-old living in Rome in 73 AD. Packed full of information about life in ancient Rome, it is hard to believe this video is just short of seven minutes long. Along with the video is a feature called Dig Deeper where you will find explanations and links to more detailed information about ancient Rome. The video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then it may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): romans (35), rome (26), video (251)

In the Classroom

This video is short and interesting enough to have students watch it on their own either at a classroom learning station or -- if you're into flipping your classroom -- at home. On their own or with a partner, have students answer the 5 multiple choice questions and 3 open answer questions by clicking on the button labeled "Think." Then you might consider having groups of four read the additional information inside Dig Deeper. Assign small groups to investigate the links that go with the information and report out to the class the new knowledge they discover. For a mini project like this consider using a program like Spicynodes, reviewed here. Another project suggestion would be to have small groups of students investigate the ancient Roman life of different social classes and ages. You could have them produce a video like the one produced here by using a program such as xtra normal, reviewed here, or Stupeflix reviewed here. Latin teachers will also find this video fitting for the cultural portions of their curriculum.
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What So Proudly We Hail: Making American Citizens Through Literature - Amy and Leon Kass

Grades
5 to 12
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Be inspired to love American History! Development citizenship and awareness by using this ten-part curriculum of short stories, speeches, and songs. The curriculum consists of three...more
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Be inspired to love American History! Development citizenship and awareness by using this ten-part curriculum of short stories, speeches, and songs. The curriculum consists of three categories. The Meaning of America explores the American character and identity through the "close reading" of classical short stories such as "To Build a Fire" and "Man Without a Country." The American Calendar examines the purpose of the American holiday, proposing the celebrations help to unite us and attach us to our country. Songs for Free Men and Women scrutinizes national songs for meaning and how they emotionally attach us to our nation. All of this curriculum is inquiry based. It also offers suggested discussion questions, study guides, author biographies, and video discussions to model how higher-level-thinking conversations about each text should sound. What So Proudly We Hail uses primary texts, has rigor, is inquiry based, and has many essay topics and writing prompts aligned to the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies. A few of the blog entries include helpful information about the Common Core standards.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): democracy (12), guided reading (46), holidays (147), literacy (102), literature (275)

In the Classroom

This comprehensive program can be a bit overwhelming at first look. You might want to pick just one, high interest short story lesson, perhaps Jack London's "To Build a Fire." This lesson and many others lends itself to small group discussion and work. The introduction makes observations and asks questions to encourage active reading and deep discussions that you may want to use as a class. Whether you and your students complete the lesson as a class or in small groups, you may want to use a program like Today's Meet reviewed here to enable all students to have a voice. If using small groups, have students post what the group decided are the answers on Today's Meet so everyone can see all answers. Where answers differ, have students go back into the reading and cite evidence to support their answer on Today's Meet for all to see. Teachers of gifted and music can choose selected ideas from this site, as well. A teaching team could make this site the focus of a year-long effort with so much material available. Upper elementary teachers and higher can make holidays and patriotic songs far more meaningful through close reading and class discussions
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Hidden Ships - Sums Online

Grades
2 to 4
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Uncover hidden ships using grid coordinates at this simple but engaging website. Get ongoing feedback on your progress from the ship's wheel. The challenge ends when all ships are found....more
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Uncover hidden ships using grid coordinates at this simple but engaging website. Get ongoing feedback on your progress from the ship's wheel. The challenge ends when all ships are found.

tag(s): coordinates (32), map skills (80), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Display this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) when learning about coordinate grids. This site would be useful when teaching basic map reading skills in social studies. Allow students to play on their own. Challenge students to create their own coordinate grids using the model on the website. Take any picture and draw grids using rulers then label. Have students identify different portions of the picture using the coordinate grid location.
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Timer-Tab - brillout.com

Grades
K to 12
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Timer-Tab is an easy to use online alarm clock, timer, and/or stopwatch. Click on any of the functions, set your time, and get started. The alarm clock and countdown move ...more
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Timer-Tab is an easy to use online alarm clock, timer, and/or stopwatch. Click on any of the functions, set your time, and get started. The alarm clock and countdown move in increments of hours, minutes, and seconds. The countdown and stopwatch also have a pause feature. One especially handy feature is that the time displays on the browser time so you can see it as you navigate other web sites.

tag(s): classroom management (130), counting (119), time (144)

In the Classroom

There are many uses for this practical online tool. At the beginning of the school year, display on your interactive whiteboard or projector to time or countdown any classroom activity. That will get the students in the habit of checking how much time they have left. Use this tool for students to practice speeches, or to limit time for a quiz or spelling test. Use the countdown feature for timing the rotations from center to center. Use the timer for reading fluency exercises or physical education warm-ups. Employ the count-down as a clever classroom management tool on your computer screen when you want the class to settle down for directions or to transition to the next subject. Students may even want to use this tool for themselves. Have a timer tab open in your web browser as you display web sites on a projector or web based activities on an interactive whiteboard so students know how much more time they have to read the site or complete the activity. Have kindergarten students practice counting along with the watch!

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The Civil War - SonOfTheSouth.net

Grades
7 to 12
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The Civil War is a site full of original Civil War resources. Content includes photographs, newspaper articles, documents, and eye-witness accounts. View all of Harper's Weekly newspapers...more
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The Civil War is a site full of original Civil War resources. Content includes photographs, newspaper articles, documents, and eye-witness accounts. View all of Harper's Weekly newspapers throughout the Civil War period. Find them using links for each year from 1861-1865. Search the site using your own search terms. You can also explore options under categories such as Confederate or Union Generals, Civil War Medicine, or Lincoln Assassination.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), lincoln (85), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a wonderful resource for first-hand accounts and information about the Civil War. Share this site with students to use as a resource for Civil War material. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here to describe a person or event during the Civil War. Have students create maps about Civil War events using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops! This is also a good treasury of primary sources useful for History Day.

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Moebius Noodles Math Adventures - Dr. Maria Droujkova, Yelena McManaman, and Malke Rosenfeld

Grades
K to 3
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Moebius Noodles is a blog for anyone interested in promoting math skills in young children through curiosity and play. Posts provide easy activities for looking at math in the everyday...more
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Moebius Noodles is a blog for anyone interested in promoting math skills in young children through curiosity and play. Posts provide easy activities for looking at math in the everyday world. Example entries include bagel math, watch a cartoon, and thinking in threes. Each entry contains tags. Choose a tag to find similar content within other blog posts. Most posts include specific questions to use to develop mathematical thinking along with images or videos. One ongoing feature of the site is their Math Goggles Challenge. Each week a new challenge is posted for users to put on "Math Goggles" and find math in unusual places.

tag(s): blogs (87), logic (229), preK (275), puzzles (208), questioning (32)

In the Classroom

Use blog posts to develop ideas for mathematical thinking activities in the classroom. Get creative in your classroom using these activities. Challenge your students (and their parents) to put on math goggles and look for math in their everyday lives. Do you have parents asking how they can help with math at home? Send them the link to this site for lots of great ideas that can be used in any household! Subscribe to the site's newsletter to receive notification of updates.
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Newspaper Map - newspapermap.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this colorful map to locate and read newspapers from around the world. Click on map pins to locate newspapers or search using filters such as languages. Use the key ...more
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Use this colorful map to locate and read newspapers from around the world. Click on map pins to locate newspapers or search using filters such as languages. Use the key to locate newspapers in each language. Yellow pins indicate English language newspapers, Spanish pink, etc. Don't worry if newspapers are not in a language you need. Choose the links provided to translate into one of many options. When ready, click on a pin to go to the newspaper's home website.

tag(s): arabic (20), cross cultural understanding (115), french (89), german (65), japanese (43), media literacy (56), newspapers (94), portuguese (18), russian (27), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Newspaper Map is a great resource for locating news and culture from around the world. Share with your students to show them different perspectives on world events. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast coverage between two newspapers. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here after reading and comparing many different articles. Explore this site during Newspaper in Education week or as part of a unit on the basics of journalistic writing. World language teachers can use newspapers to teach about both language and culture. Have world cultures or social studies students learn about local culture through advertisements and articles and share their findings using a screencast (or screenshots) of the newspaper and talking about their discoveries. A free tool like Screenr, reviewed here, works well for screencasts.

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Florida Center for Reading Research - Florida Center for Reading Research

Grades
K to 6
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The Florida Center for Reading Research is an excellent source for information and activities for teaching reading. Choose from several topics. The Instructional Materials for Teachers...more
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The Florida Center for Reading Research is an excellent source for information and activities for teaching reading. Choose from several topics. The Instructional Materials for Teachers portion of the site contains center activities for grades K-5, skills alignment to Common Core, and an excellent search tool for finding instructional materials on the site. Search by grade level or concept to view materials available. Identify material types such as PDF files or movies by viewing the icon associated with each result. Explore the Instructional Materials portion of the site to find materials to share with parents to help reinforce reading skills and find interventions for use with struggling readers.

tag(s): fluency (23), main idea (9), phonics (75), reading comprehension (114), sentences (52), sight words (37), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (126), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for use throughout the year. Use the search tool to find materials to accompany your reading instruction. Find activities that align with Common Core standards. Show videos on your interactive whiteboard (of projector) to introduce, review, or reinforce reading concepts.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Strikingly - David Chen, Dafeng Guo, and Teng Bao

Grades
6 to 12
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Strikingly allows you to make beautiful, one-page websites quickly without any coding experience. View sites on any device. Quickly connect to social media, track analytics, and add...more
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Strikingly allows you to make beautiful, one-page websites quickly without any coding experience. View sites on any device. Quickly connect to social media, track analytics, and add contact forms easily. Create an account using email and a password to begin. Choose a category from business, personal, or portfolio to choose a template and begin editing. Click each section to edit. Upload images from your computer or many other options such as Dropbox, Instagram, and Picasa. When finished, choose the Publish button to personalize your url. Share via Facebook, Twitter, or by emailing the url. Free plans allow for one page per user. However, you can earn points to access additional content by "Liking" Strikingly on Facebook or other options. There is a 5 MB limit to the monthly bandwidth (traffic) for free sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): portfolios (25)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to post simple projects such as stories, poems, and art projects on a mobile friendly page. These could be shared easily on a class set of iTouches! Collect a master list of links to student pages on your classroom website, wiki, or blog for easy access. If students are creating pages, be sure to check with your district's policy on student use of email as well as publishing of student work. Create websites for many projects: back to school introductions, any subject/topic, research projects, book reports... the possibilities go on and on! Create a handy mobile-friendly page to share resources and information during field trips or outside activities. If you do a field study, make a simple page of the activities students are expected to do there so they can access it easily using their smart phones.

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JumpRope Standards Based Grading - Jesse Olsen and Justin Meyer

Grades
K to 12
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JumpRope offers an online, standards-based gradebook and lesson building program. You can also include information such as attendance, character, and standards-based performance with...more
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JumpRope offers an online, standards-based gradebook and lesson building program. You can also include information such as attendance, character, and standards-based performance with just a few easy entries. Manually enter your students' names in JumpRope or upload a spreadsheet of names to begin. Use the tabs on the dashboard to move around to different areas of the site. Write anecdotes on student behavior, assign a category and value, and more. Collaborative features between teachers appear to require a school or district level membership, and there is no information stating it is free. Based on backwards design principles, this planning tool considers learning goals before assessments or learning experiences. Assessments are aligned to one or more chosen standards. Upload as many supporting documents or resources you desire to use throughout the year and beyond.

tag(s): classroom management (130)

In the Classroom

If your school does not have a required gradebook program in place, consider using JumpRope as an option for grading, attendance, and lesson planning.

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Problem-Attic - EducAide Software

Grades
6 to 12
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Problem-Attic is a resource for finding and compiling the best questions from NY Regents, State Assessments, Academic Competitions, and more for classroom or individual use. Select,...more
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Problem-Attic is a resource for finding and compiling the best questions from NY Regents, State Assessments, Academic Competitions, and more for classroom or individual use. Select, arrange, and format questions as desired. Select questions by browsing topics or exams. Add items as desired to your document with the link provided. Drag and drop selections into any order such as easy to hard, all multiple choice items together, etc. Choose a template for how questions should look. Choose other options such as allowing room for students to show work and printing an answer key. Preview your document until it is complete then print in PDF format.

tag(s): assessment (99), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Save this site as an excellent practice for end of year testing, state tests, and national tests. Use Problem-Attic to personalize learning for students. Share this tool on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom to prepare for state testing. Challenge your students to create (and print) practice tests for other students. Coaches for academic competitions can use this site for team practice. Teachers of gifted can use it for students to practice for out-of-level testing used to screen students for special gifted opportunities.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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